Published in 1901, M. P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud is an early "last man" science fiction novel. Foretold by a priest as being against the will of God, Adam Jeffson's Arctic expedition unleashes a terrible fate on the world - a mysterious purple cloud that spreads far into the heavens and across the earth. Jeffson returns to the horror of finding the entire crew dead onboard his ship, and, as he gradually realizes, the entire population of the planet has been wiped out. Descending into a madness, he burns cities, declares himself a monarch with no subjects, attempts to create an enormous golden palace for God and for himself. But everything changes as he discovers he is not the only person left, stumbling upon a naked young woman without any knowledge of the world that once stood.